2 Minute Review – Bookshelf Challenge – Jólabókaflóð Book 2

For the last few years, one of my besties has been doing the Unread Shelf challenge. The idea is (in part – it’s a bigger challenge than it looks) to use prompts to help a reader work through the Unread Titles on their shelves.

Inspired by her, I am in the midst of attempting to gain control over my unruly bookshelves, so have tallied up my UnRead Books.

Just fictional books – not including poetry, factual or eddyumacational books – ONLY fiction, you get me?

There’s 134 books.(Updated from GoodReads Shelf)

  • Unfinished = 1
  • Read = 5 (this is book 5)
  • Total to go = 128

That’s…that’s a bit much really.

So here’s where I tackle them, book by book – to finally figure out which are staying, which are going to be donated and which are going to be discarded unfinished. Oh yes, I’m in that sort of a ruthless mode!

This isn’t strictly speaking a BookShelf Challenge but it’s taken so long to actually finish it that it sort of applies!

One of my Jólabókaflóð books from Christmas Eve – Stories of Trees, Woods and the Forest

Trees have starred in stories ever since Ovid described the nymph Daphne’s metamorphosis into a laurel, and the landscape of literature has long been enlivened by wild woodlands, sacred groves, and fertile orchards. This delightful collection ranges from Ovid to Austen and from Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest (via Thomas Love Peacock’s Maid Marian) to Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Here are forest-haunted fairy tales both classic (the Brothers Grimm) and inventively retold (Angela Carter). There is room in these woods for comedy as well as terror, in Stella Gibbons’s Cold Comfort Farm, and Alexander McCall Smith’s “Head Tree.” Notable writers from around the world contribute arboreal fiction—from South Africa, Finland, France, Zimbabwe, Russia, Martinique, and India, as well as Britain, Ireland, Canada, and America. From Daphne du Maurier’s “The Apple Tree” to R. K. Narayan’s “Under the Banyan Tree,” the sheer range of stories in these pages will leave readers refreshed and dazzled.


Absolutely GORGEOUS book. I’d requested The Wood Beyond The World from my Icelandic Elves so finding this tucked away in the parcel was such a delight.

With 29 short stories, there is something for everyone here. From the classics (and Ovid’s stories are so timeless and beautiful you’ll likely know them even if you never realised that they are ‘classics’) to more contemporary tales, so many different aspects of the wild outdoors is reflected.

I particularly enjoyed The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono – a gentle philosophical look at a life well lived. And yes – for those in the know, I did immediately look it up to see if it was based on an actual person. This was followed by a sort-of scifi response – a story called The Man Who Harvested Trees (and Gifted Life) which goes flying into the future, envisioning the impact such a person could have on the world.

Zimbabwe is represented too – by Yvonne Vera’s Why Don’t You Carve Other Animals – a very enjoyable read and doubly exciting as she used to run the art gallery in Bulawayo and I’m certain I can remember meeting her once or twice! And the Irish are covered too – Michael McLaverty’s The Road to the Shore (which has nuns, which is basically how I guessed).

Others, such as Flowers! Lovely Flowers! were clearly speaking to a political situation that I don’t understand enough to get fully but still appreciated in a limited way, while The Apple Tree was so evocative that it made my skin crawl – incredibly effective writing, even if I’m not in love with the story.

This unexpected hardback is a gem and one that I will be shouting about to anyone who will listen for yonks!!

SCORE 9/10

Thanks again Elves!!


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